Reducing Suffering from Chronic Diseases

More than 133 million people in the United States suffer from chronic diseases, of which 30.3 percent have diabetes.

For Kim Unertl, PhD, assistant professor of biomedical informatics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, it’s critical to improve clinical work practices in chronic disease care, ultimately improving the long-term disease management for a patient.

Unertl’s work shows the importance of using clinical informatics to evaluate workflow and clinical decision support tools to enhance efficiency, and as importantly to improve patient outcomes for those with chronic diseases. For example, Unertl and her colleagues helped advance provider workflow in diabetes mellitus and cystic fibrosis clinics by developing a set of guidelines for technologies used for chronic disease care.

Why informatics? So, we can improve care for the 40 percent of the U.S. population suffering from chronic diseases.